September 2 - The short term insurance giant, Santam, has indicated plans
to increase its market share in South Africa to control at least a quarter of it
within the next two to three years.
The group already controls nearly 23% of the South African
short term insurance market, and aims to increase it to 25%.
The group said that it will be investing capital in the direct insurance
market, where it believes it has more scope for growth.
The Chief Executive Officer of Santam, Ian Kirk, said that the increase will
come through new innovations and products which will be priced competitively.
Santam also hopes to introduce industry specific products in South Africa's
"There are one or two areas where we are punching below our weight and we
will try and get a big more aggressive there," said Kirk. "I think in the
affinity market we got into that market fairly late. In the direct space (MiWay)
we also got in there fairly late because of our focus on the intermediated
In the first half of 2011, Santam saw a 16% increase in headline earnings per
share to 593c.
Santam showed that its gross written premiums increased by 7% to R8.2 billion
and declared an interim dividend of 200c per share against 185c in the previous
The group said that it was not appropriate to declare a special dividend due
to the volatility in local and international markets.
Watching Discovery Closely
In an interview, Kirk was asked about the successful entrance of
Discovery into South Africa's short term insurance market and whether Santam
felt pressure from the group.
"We are not on the numbers but we are watching it very
carefully," he said. "Discovery has a very successful business - we would be
naive to think that they won't be successful. They will take some market share
but we are watching the positioning very carefully. I think we are welcoming the
competition. It forces us to be on our toes."
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